In the wake of the Sandy Hook Elementary shooting, many schools are rushing to implement preventative measures in order to stop another tragedy from happening. The major prohibitive factor: cost. An armed security guard makes on average $27,040 a year, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, and in an era of stretched budgets, it’s a bill that many schools can’t foot.
Unless you have private funding – which is what one Florida elementary school is relying on. The Flagler County School District is publicly praising mother Laurie Lauria, who has offered to pay for an armed security guard to protect her daughter’s elementary school. According to the Daytona Beach News-Journal, Lauria has hired a “trained, off-duty Sheriff’s deputy” for Old Kings Elementary School in the town of Flagler Beach, Fla.
The guard’s salary will be $32 an hour, a cost that Flagler’s schools budget can’t accomodate. A total of six armed guards already patrol the school district’s two middle schools, two high schools and its alternative school, but there are no guards at any of its six elementary schools. (Flagler’s school district pays for four of the guards, and the city and Sheriff’s department each pay for one.)
Lauria has already written a check for $12,000 to cover the first two months’ pay for the guard, according to the Huffington Post, and has made a verbal commitment to pay for the rest of the year. “I don’t know how you say no to such a wonderful gesture,” Superintendent Janet Valentine told the News-Journal. The guard will patrol the entrance and grounds of the school.
In a press release issued by Superintendent Valentine’s office, Lauria is listed as the president of Police Services, Inc., a “private manufacturer of safety minded products” but explicitly notes that her company doesn’t deal with weapons or security services, to address any questions about any possible conflict of interest. The press release also implies her motives are pure: Lauria consulted with “several high-ranking school officials” and law enforcement departments before contributing her money.